Participants from the BVI’s Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change have completed a week of training to deploy and collect underwater video recordings using a baited remote video system (BRUVS).
Baited remote underwater video (BRUV) is a system used in marine biology research. By attracting fish into the field of view of a remotely controlled camera, the technique records fish diversity, abundance and behaviour of species.
Sites are sampled by video recording the region surrounding a baited canister which is lowered to the bottom from a surface vessel or less commonly by a submersible or remotely operated underwater vehicle. The video can be transmitted directly to the surface by cable, or recorded for later analysis.
BRUVS captures samples of underwater footage, which can then be used for various purposes, including educational outreach and the analysis of marine biodiversity.
Fisheries Officer Ms. Abbi Christopher described the training and survey work as challenging but exciting. She said the team collected approximately sixty hours of underwater video samples for analysis.
Ms. Christopher said, “It was good to get out on the water with the fisheries team, fishers and other agencies interested in the health of the marine environment. The training helped us get a handle on how to use the equipment and envision other possibilities and projects for future surveys using BRUVS”.
Meanwhile, Co-founder of Blue Abacus Mr. Jason Meeuwig, who has overseen the development and design of the carbon-fibre BRUVS said the week went well.
Mr. Meeuwig said, “Despite the challenging conditions posed by high winds all last week, the team learned how to use the BRUVS in pelagic and benthic deployments. They did a great job. With their new skills and understanding of the equipment, they will be able to use the BRUVS going forward to better understand the status of marine life in the Virgin Islands.”
Officers from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, H Lavity Stoutt Community College, The National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands and fishers were also trained in the programme.
The session was made possible through the UK-funded Global Ocean Wildlife Analysis Network (GOWAN), a sub-programme of the UK Blue Belt Programme under the guidance of Blue Abacus, the network’s delivery partner.
The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change envisions sound stewardship of the lands of the Virgin Islands, along with its natural resources by implementing a robust legal framework that fosters environmentally-friendly best management practices.